Azkals lose to Palestine in AFC Challenge Cup finals

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Saturday, May 31, 2014

CEBU CITY -- Philippine National Football Team "Azkals" fell short of booking a ticket to the AFC Cup in Australia in 2015 after losing to Palestine, 1-0, in the finals of the 2014 AFC Challenge Cup in Maldives, early Saturday morning Philippine time.

The Azkals failed to end their 2014 AFC Challenge Cup journey on a happy note against Palestine who proved to be a tougher opponent both in offense and defense.

With the loss, the Azkals settled for the silver medal.

The Philippines once defeated Palestine when both teams met in the 2012 AFC Challenge Cup in Nepal, 4-3.

At the start of the match, the Palestinian squad dominated the ball possession and goal attacks. Palestine gave seven goal attempts, five of which were on target, while the Azkals only had five goal attempts with zero “on target”.

Both teams were scoreless at the end of the first half. The Azkals were able to stop the Palestine attacks thanks to the superb goalkeeping by Roland Muller who had critical saves.

The Azkals had their stint of offense in the 37th minute with Phil Younghusband getting a shot attempt.

However, Younghusband and fellow Azkals striker Stephan Schrock didn’t show much action in the first half due the tight defense employed by Palestine.

The Filipinos where able to adjust their game in the second half where they were able to control the possession and get the ball to the Palestinian side.

Just when the Azkals where able to make good adjustments on the offense, the Palestinians got their first taste of goal.

Ashraf Nu'man was fouled in the 58th minute of the game and was able to convert his penalty kick amid the Azkals defensive wall.

The Philippine Team gave everything in their arsenal to get the elusive equalizer and possibly force a 30-minute overtime in the final 10 minutes of regulation. But the Palestinian defense proved to be a factor in the match denying clear shots for the Azkals. (BJA/Sunnex)

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